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“This year served us a smorgasbord of reality television escapism in the form of wholesome programming: shows that deal primarily in compassion, support, and empathy, and make you weep out of joy and closure, rather than sadness. They’re an uplifting antidote to reality TV, past and present, shows that focus on interpersonal drama or aggressive competition—think The Bachelor, Survivor, America’s Next Top Model, Project Runway, or American Idol. Rather, these new programs seem to understand the value of, say, Project Runway’s Tim Gunn being a fan favorite for his kindness and dotage over contestants—and they make that ethos their whole premise.
It’s hard to know why, exactly, there was such an embrace of this genre in 2018. Perhaps it’s thanks to the more and more precarious economic health of the millennial generation, or the sheer exhaustion over a toxic presidency. Whatever the reason, we’re all clearly grasping for a smidgen of something like TLC but with a little more wit. Here are a few of our favorite wholesome shows of 2018, and why we love them:
Queer Eye premiered this year, but it feels like Jonathan Van Ness, Antoni Porowski, Tan France, Karamo Brown, and Bobby Berk have been with us so much longer. Much of that is thanks to a successful rebrand of the core concept of the original 2000s reality television makeover show, Queer Eye For the Straight Guy. Rather than an exotifying notion of gay men “beautifying” straight men, 2018’s Queer Eye bankrolls on the increasingly popular notion of self-care, and the idea that everyone deserves self-love and to feel that compassion reflected around them.”
JJ Editor's Daily Picks
"THE CAPTURE of the last territory controlled by the Islamic State on Saturday was far from a final victory over the movement, as U.S. commanders and diplomats were careful to emphasize."
"How a Gay Teen, an Internet Nazi, and a Late-Night Rendezvous Turned to Tragedy. When self-loathing meets the new age of online extremism."
"Benjamin Netanyahu ignored the intelligence operations of Beijing and Moscow for too long. Now, the Israeli government is finally paying attention, but it could be too late."
"Former Nick Jr. kids are now reckoning with this all-grown-up intrepid explorer, whose obstacles are a lot bigger than Swiper the Fox. And that is a hard pill to swallow."
"At the end of last week, the three-month Treasury bills' yield rose above the yield for 10-year Treasuries for the first time since 2007, prompting warnings that the U.S. is headed for recession later this year or in early 2020."
"A team of researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Technion-Israel Institute of Technology attempted to answer some questions about voting with the help of artificial intelligence (AI)."
"The experts I spoke with all said that the internet had changed the way conspiracies spread, but conspiracies, both dangerous and petty, have always been with us."
"Pop culture today is obsessed with the battle between good and evil. Traditional folktales never were. What changed?"
"Trustful parents allow their children as much freedom as reasonably possible to make their own decisions. They trust their children’s instincts, judgments, and ability to learn from mistakes."
"Arugulagate. In 2007, Barack Obama was in Iowa, speaking as a presidential hopeful to a group of farmers who were worried about the stagnation of their crop prices while America’s grocery bills continued to rise."
"To say that information exists in and of itself is akin to speaking of spin without the top, of ripples without water, of a dance without the dancer, or of the Cheshire Cat’s grin without the cat."
"Ted Cruz replaces the Democrats’ muddled manifesto with a clear and unequivocal exploration of the hatred of Jews and its particular evils."